05/10/2006 11:00PM

Classy Sophia's Prince appears ready

Benoit & Associates
A stakes winner in New York, Great Intentions goes next in the Hendrie.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sophia's Prince dominated the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton in his lone start in Ontario-sired stakes company at Woodbine last year.

On Saturday, in the six-furlong New Providence, Sophia's Prince will be making his seasonal bow at age 7 against some Ontario-sired rivals with sharp recent races.

"Main Executive is going to be awfully tough in there," said John LeBlanc Jr., who trains Sophia's Prince. "He had a stellar performance last time. And, a couple of the others have raced well.

"But I think when I'm on my game, I'd be the one to beat."

Sophia's Prince was stakes-placed on several occasions at ages 3 and 4 but had dropped into the claiming ranks by the fall of his 2004 campaign, which he closed out with a win for $45,000.

Last year, however, Sophia's Prince returned with a renewed lease on life and rattled off three straight wins, capped by a 5 1/2-length romp in the Shepperton, which earned him a Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

"It's been exactly the same as last year," said LeBlanc, who brought Sophia's Prince to Woodbine to start preparing for the season in mid-February. "He wasn't coming around real quick. But, in his last few works, he did what we asked him to do."

LeBlanc said it was not his intention that Sophia's Prince make his first start of the year in the New Providence.

"If I had the opportunity to run him sooner, I would have," said LeBlanc. "But either the races were there before he was ready, or they were too close to this race, so I opted to work him right into the New Providence."

Sophia's Prince will be ridden by Simon Husbands, who has been aboard the gelding for 22 of his 29 career starts and 7 of his 8 victories.

Culpeper Moon won't be 73-1 Sunday

Culpeper Moon didn't attract much attention in local debut in the April 16 Whimsical, sent off as the rank outsider in a field of 13 at 73-1. But Culpeper Moon rallied to finish fourth, beaten four lengths, despite a slow start in the six-furlong race.

Based on that performance, Culpeper Moon should be tough in Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong Hendrie, which has attracted a field of 10 fillies and mares age 4 and up.

Culpeper Moon, purchased privately by owner Stuart Hyman this spring, was making her first start for trainer Mike Keogh in the Whimsical.

"I thought she ran huge," said Keogh. "If she'd have broke, she would have been right there.

"I'd schooled her and schooled her; the trainer that had her before said she was a little finicky in [the starting gate]. Then, she gets left.

"But I think we learned something about the way she wants to be ridden - let her settle and come from off it."

Keogh, who had Culpeper Moon for only about three weeks before the Whimsical, has worked her two solid half-miles in the interim, including four furlongs in a bullet 47 seconds last Sunday.

Gerry Olguin, who rode Culpeper Moon for the first time in the Whimsical, retains the mount.

A second Hyman runner in Hendrie

Hyman has a second Hendrie entrant, Givememore, who is trained by Wayne Mogge and was scratched out of a $62,000 money allowance race at Churchill Downs on May 3 in favor of running in the Hendrie here.

A Brazilian-bred 5-year-old, Givememore was purchased for $30,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale.

Givememore has made two starts for Hyman, both in Grade 2, seven-furlong races, finishing fourth in the Shirley Jones at Gulfstream and sixth in the Madison at Keeneland.

Ray Sabourin has the call on Givememore, who will be Mogge's first starter in Canada.

Hushion sends one from New York

Trainer Michael Hushion, who is based in New York, also will have his first Canadian starter in the Hendrie, Great Intentions, who will be ridden by Patrick Husbands.

Great Intentions, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old filly owned by Barry Schwartz, won Belmont's Grade 2, seven-furlong First Flight last October.

In her last start, Great Intentions finished fifth of six, beaten 4 1/4 lengths in Aqueduct's Grade 2, six-furlong Distaff.

Lone Star Derby on interactive TV

The Woodbine-based HorsePlayer Interactive television will carry Saturday night's Lone Star Derby, whose entrants include the Canadian-bred Wanna Runner, a candidate for the Queen's Plate.

The Lone Star Derby is scheduled as the eighth race with post time at approximately 5:50 p.m. Eastern. Woodbine will not offer simulcast wagering on the Lone Star Derby.

Tom Filipowich funeral mass held

A funeral mass was held Thursday for Tom Filipowich, a longtime owner who died on Monday at age 84 following a lengthy illness.

Filipowich won two races at Woodbine this spring with President's Gal, who is trained by Bill Tharrenos.

He also is known as a part-owner of Countess Steffi, a multiple stakes winner for trainer John Charalambous who raced from 1991 until early 1996.